Mandalay Region government is to spend billions bringing drinking water to more than 100 villages that they fear could run dry over the next few weeks. U Myo, deputy director of the region’s Urban Development Department, told The Myanmar Times on April 22 that K172.45 billion provided by the Union government would go toward distribution, as well as repairing old wells and de-silting lakes over the next 100 days.

Women carry buckets on their heads while collecting drinking water on the outskirts of Nay Pyi Taw on April 25. Photo: EPAWomen carry buckets on their heads while collecting drinking water on the outskirts of Nay Pyi Taw on April 25. Photo: EPA

“Nyaung-U and Myingyan are the most in need of water. The main task is to dig out old wells and lakes, plus repair and maintenance of the necessary roads and bridges,” he said, adding that delivery companies had already distributed 360,000 gallons to 12,376 houses, serving 65,652 people mainly in Tada-U, Myitthar, Taungtha, Yamethin, Pyawbwe and Nyaung-U townships. The 101 villages concerned are being serviced daily by water trucks.

“Although Nyaung-U city is short of water, the Taungzin River project allows us to deliver water to nearly 100 villages. We spent K39 billion on repairs and maintenance last fiscal year, and will spend a further K300 billion this year on repairs and maintenance of the river water project. Now we’re distributing water as well,” he said.

Mandalay Region Urban Development Department warned that the El Niño phenomenon could bring particularly dry weather this year, and that the department had made preparations to supply up to 231 villages facing water shortages in April and May.

Over K216 million of the budget will be devoted to the Pyin Oo Lwin area where wells will be dug in order to ensure even the driest villages have a source of water, according to an official at the village development department.

The department will also spend K534.55 billion on road and bridge repair and maintenance this year and K98.6 billion from the capital fund will be used for new projects in 22 places.

Link: http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/mandalay-upper-myanmar/20045-billions-planned-to-stem-water-shortages.html